Just when U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd thought things couldn't get any worse because of the AIG bonus public relations debacle, the scandal over his Countrywide mortgages rears its ugly head again.
The issue dates back to 2003, when Dodd refinanced his homes in Washington and East Haddam, Conn. with Countrywide and got a pretty sweet deal. Dodd has taken a popularity beating over it.
Now, a report shows that an executive with Countrywide Financial overrode the company's policies to give Connecticut's senior senator a discounted loan, according to an internal document obtained by the Hartford Courant.
However, the documents that were handed over to Congressional investigators and obtained by the Courant, do not show any evidence that Dodd was aware that he was getting a discount.
Dodd has acknowledged participating in a Countrywide VIP program, which he said he thought referred to upgraded customer service. But, he has denied asking for or receiving any special treatment.
"There was no sweetheart deal," Dodd said.
A Dodd spokesperson Thursday, reiterated that claim, saying there was nothing unusual about the loan negotiation process.
Dodd is under investigation by a Senate ethics panel for mortgages he got from Countrywide Financial Corp., the big lending company at the center of the mortgage crisis.
Thursday's report, by Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also concludes that Dodd and another senator, Kent Conrad, D-N.D., "appear to have violated" Senate ethics rules related to accepting gifts and loans not generally available to the public, the Courant reports.
Bryan DeAngelis, Dodd's press secretary, disputed that conclusion.
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